The Cathouse, Glasgow
Friday 13th December 2013
Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid
Let's be honest here, if you're into thrash metal and you're under twenty five, then the chances of you having heard of Xentix are small to say the least.
Back in 1992, I'd just discovered the band's new album, ''Kin' and was working my way through their back catalogue when the news came through – Xentrix had split up! "Ah well", I thought, that's a great band that I'll never get to see live! Fast Forward twenty one years, and I'm standing only feet away from the stage ready to experience the Xentrix live show – at last!
The anticipation is tangible as the crowd gathers stage front as the lights go down. The band are visible to the keenest eye, having a last minute conversation back stage before the intro music blasts out. One by one the band walk onstage to thunderous applause and the biggest cheer was reserved for last man on, main man Chris Astley.
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'Black Embrace' kicks the band off in fine style and for a brief moment, we're all transported back to the late eighties/early nineties. The soundman takes some time to get Astley's vocals sorted out, but in the meantime there's no let up for the band as they bludgeon the audience with their huge sound in this relatively small venue.
Lead guitarist Kristian Havard is just excellent from beginning to end while bass player, Chris Shires, headbangs away like a demon. Havard beckons the crowd to get involved during 'Balance Of Power', but they don't need any encouragement. Likewise drummer, Dennis Gasser, pounds the drums so hard that the vibration goes right through you – tremendous stuff.
'Questions' has the first pit of the night going as Astley throws out the guitar riffs before explaining with glee that 'Reasons For Destruction' was written about "some crazy people doing crazy shit!" The band seem to be genuinely bowled over by the reaction of the crowd which by this time has filled out even more. Astley mentions that 'Another Day' from the ''Kin' album hasn't dated at all and the audience treat it like a long lost friend. I can imagine a few extra copies of this album were sold over the course of this tour.
Harking back to the early nineties, Astley asks who remembers MTV's flagship Metal show, 'Headbangers Ball', which gets an indifferent response – maybe less people had MTV back in the day, but the band power on with 'For Whose Advantage?' which is one of the songs for which the band actually made an official promo video for.
As happens at The Cathouse, the nightclub opens at 11:00pm so being pushed for time, the band power through 'Crimes' which once again has the mosh pit going full pelt while those at the back head bang in a slightly more sedate manner. It wouldn't really be a Xentrix show without them playing 'Ghostbusters', which segues into 'Dark Enemy' before finishing their set with 'No Compromise'.
Xentrix were, to be fair, a band who didn't have a proper shot at it and they have managed to keep their fan base over the years too – a fan base who are still more than happy to come out and support them. With the recent announcement of an Overkill support tour in March 2014, it looks like I'll not be the only one who'll be back down the front to see these guys.
Balance of Power
Reasons for Destruction
Shadows of Doubt
Back in the Real World
The Human Condition
For Whose Advantage?
You can see Xentrix supporting Overkill here:
Thursday 13th March - Islington Academy, London
Saturday 15th March - The Academy, Dublin
Sunday 16th March – The Cathouse, Glasgow
Monday 17th March - Sound Control, Manchester
Chris Astley – Guitar/Vocals
Kristian Havard - Guitars
Chris Shires – Bass Guitar
Dennis Gasser – Drums